Although Jews are grateful and thankful every day, many of us still enjoy the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s the fall flavors or natural beauty with the foliage, maybe it’s the extra two days off from work and school, and maybe it’s just all the never-ending football. I love the food, the family time, and the opportunity to say thank you.

This year, many of us are thankful for good health, safety, a job, and so many small things too that we have missed, like seeing friends, dining out, entertaining activities, and being able to attend a wedding again! Let’s just be happy and thankful.

Creamy Corn Chowder

 

Photograph by: Todd Coleman

Serves 6 - 8

Creamy corn chowder is decadent and creamy. The corn adds richness and creaminess.

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups pumpernickel or challah bread, cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • Freshly ground black pepper and paprika, to taste
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted margarine
  • 4 ribs celery, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 8 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock or pareve chicken stock
  • 1 cup pareve whipping cream, soymilk, or almond milk
  • 1 cup soy milk

Heat oven to 325°F. Put 1 clove garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle it with salt. Using a knife, mince and scrape garlic against the cutting board to form a paste. Transfer garlic paste to a large bowl and whisk in oil. Add pumpernickel cubes, season with salt, pepper, and paprika, and toss to coat; transfer to a baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, until toasted, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl (Alternatively, buy a great flavored crouton).

Heat margarine in a 6-quart pot over medium heat. Mince remaining garlic and add to pot along with celery and onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, partially covered and stirring often, until vegetables are soft but not browned, 16–18 minutes. Add corn and curry powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is soft and fragrant, 18-20 minutes. Vigorously stir in flour, then add chicken stock, pareve whipping cream, and soy milk; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 10 minutes. To serve, divide soup between serving bowls and top with croutons.

Herb Roasted Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing

 

Serves 10-12

This original recipe appeared in Food and Wine magazine a few years ago. I gave it a little GKC adaptation and have been making it for years. . It's great, traditional with a flair, sweet and savory.

Turkey

  • One 13- to 15-pound turkey, neck and giblets reserved for stuffing (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 stick unsalted margarine, softened or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock, for roasting

Stuffing

  • 1 pound country bread or challah, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes (12 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Fuji apples—peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • Reserved turkey giblets, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 cups peeled roasted chestnuts, crumbled (14 ounces)
  • 2 cups chicken stock, warmed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

For the turkey: Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold water and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels.. In a bowl, blend the margarine, sage and shallot and add salt and pepper. Starting at the cavity end of the bird, slip your hand between the skin and meat, loosening the skin over the breast and around the legs. Spread the shallot-sage margarine mixture under the skin, covering as much of the breasts and legs as possible. Scatter the celery, carrots, onion and turkey neck in a large roasting pan and set the turkey on top; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Make the stuffing: Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a large bowl.

Increase the oven temperature to 425° F. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the celery and onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and barely browned, 7 minutes. Add the apples and giblets, if using, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender and the giblets are cooked, 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add to the bread and the chestnuts and the 2 cups of warm stock. Toss well and season the stuffing with salt and pepper; let cool. Do not overmix.

Pack the turkey cavity and neck with the stuffing, then tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Roast for about 45 minutes, until richly browned. Baste with any accumulated pan juices and tent the breast with foil. Pour the remaining 2 cups of stock into the roasting pan. Turn the oven temperature down to 325° and roast the turkey for 2 to 2 1/2 hours longer, basting every 30 minutes; remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of roasting. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in an inner thigh registers 165°. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and let rest for at least 30 minutes. (Note* turkey needs about 20 minutes per lb on 325).

Scoop the stuffing into a bowl. Strain the pan juices into a heatproof bowl and skim off the fat. Carve the turkey and serve with the stuffing and the strained pan juices.

Garlicky Green Beans with Almonds

 

Serves 8

Classic, easy, and very Thanksgiving friendly. These can be made a day ahead of time and rewarmed if desired.

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons margarine (I use Earthbalance)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook, stirring once, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over low heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until golden, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 10 seconds; transfer to a plate.

Add the margarine and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown, 3 minutes. Add the green beans and toss to coat. Cook, stirring often, until tender, 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice; season to taste with salt and pepper, add the almond garlic mixture, toss to coat and serve warm.

Corn Souffle

 

Serves 10

Can be made in individual ramekins or in one baking dish. This is a fan favorite and especially beautiful right out of the oven. I cannot always make it right before serving so it loses the “souffle” look. Still delicious, serve warm, and bake in an oven-to-table dish so that it can be scooped right out of the dish.

  • ¼ cup margarine, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, or ¾ cup liquid egg substitute
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup vanilla pareve soy milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans cream style corn
  • 1 (14 ounce) can corn kernels, drained

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Gently mix margarine, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, soymilk, water and vanilla. Add the cream style corn and kernels to the mixture. Spray a deep ovenproof or oven-to-table casserole or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the bowl and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncovered. This is best served immediately after cooking if you would like the guests to see the dish souffled. Otherwise it is delicious rewarmed.

Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes

 

Serves 10

This tastes a bit like sweet candy and you will not miss those marshmallows!

  • 6 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup melted margarine plus 3 tablespoons cut into pieces and more for greasing dish
  • 1/2 cup pareve whipping cream or soymilk or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet until very tender when pierced, 1 hour.

Allow sweet potatoes to cool a bit then cut sweet potatoes in half. Scoop out flesh and place in a bowl of electric mixer. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together sweet potatoes, melted margarine, pareve cream, salt, and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Grease a 3-qt. baking dish. Add sweet potatoes and smooth surface. Top with pecans, maple syrup, and margarine pieces.

Cover dish with parchment paper cut to fit, then foil.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until pecans are toasted, about 12-15 minutes more.

Cranberry Pear Sauce

 

Traditional cranberry sauce with a twist!

Makes 1 ½ cups

  • 2 ½ cups diced (1/2 in.) firm-ripe peeled Bosc pears
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix pears, cranberries, sugar, cinnamon stick, and 1/4 cup water. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, until the berries have popped and the juices have thickened, about 40 minutes. Transfer all with pan juices into a dish. Serve warm or chilled.

Pumpkin Parfaits

 

Serves 12

These stunning, show-stopper parfaits are just perfect for Thanksgiving or the fall. They are make-ahead friendly and a special way to end this fantastic meal.

  • Two 15-ounce cans pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups tofutti cream cheese, divided
  • 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups pareve (non-dairy) whipping cream
  • 1 ½ cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies (6 ounces)

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the pumpkin puree with the pumpkin pie spice, salt, 2 cups of the tofutti cream cheese, 1 ½ cups of the confectioners’ sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, until thick.

In another large bowl, beat the non-dairy cream with the remaining 2 cups of Tofutti cream cheese, 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, until soft peaks form.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture into 12 glasses (using about ½ of the mixture) and top with about 1 ½ tablespoons of the cream mixture (using ½ of the mixture) and then top each with some cookie crumbs (half of the crushed wafers). Repeat the layering once more using the remaining pumpkin, cream and cookie crumbs. Refrigerate the parfaits until well-chilled, at least 1 hour, before serving.

Can be made a day ahead of time.